By – Tunde Fadipe
The challenges currently bedevilling Nigeria are not limited to hunger and economic recession alone, insecurity is also a major challenge. Right before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had our killers in the name of Boko-Haram, herdsmen, kidnappers and the bandits.
Boko-Haram has grown beyond a tiny unit of disgruntled and misguided fanatics to insurgents whose modus operandi which can be likened to that of ISIS, Al Qaeda and other deadly terrorist groups. Since, the breakout of this killer group almost two decades ago, Nigeria has committed billions of dollars and wasted so many lives tackling this evil that has become the identity of our bleeding nation.
Nigeria and the North-Eastern States, especially, our dear Borno has become a killing field for the notorious terrorist group with no reasonable demands. Students, traders and visitors have fallen into their traps and gotten swallowed. The killing of our officers and men of the armed forces by this terrorist group can’t be evaluated, it keeps increasing on daily basis. Our brothers and sisters have not only fallen, but they were also gruesomely murdered by Boko-Haram.
While Boko-Haram has found North-East as a suitable habitat to operate and cause tension with the spilling of innocent blood across the region, the bandits are reigning supreme as the Lord in the North-West. The farmers will have to negotiate with the killers before harvesting their hard-earned products on the farm. We have gradually moved away from the era of freedom and right, to an era of intimidation and anarchy.
Southern Kaduna is in a critical situation. What’s going on in that region is more of ethnic cleansing and tribal domination. What’s happening in that region doesn’t suggest that we have a government that can guarantee the security of lives and properties. We are now at a point where government negotiate with terrorists to stop killing and be peaceful.
Sadly, there is no safe region in Nigeria presently. Those who think staying in the village will stop them from Kidnappers and Armed Robbers will have to contend with Fulani Herdsmen and armed militias.
The cost of insecurity is evident in our economy and the running of government. We have spent billions of dollars that should go to infrastructure development in critical aspects of the economy of health, education, social development, transportation, commerce and others, fighting a belligerent group without any reasonable reward and solution. There is an increasing shortage of food across the country because farmlands have become home to killers.
Our human resources are being depleted everyday on needless war and attrition within the Nigerian space. We continue to bury those who are supposed to be resources for national growth and development. The wastage is on so many fronts; we spent a huge amount of money to train manpower only for them to become food for the gods.
Our roads have become deserted because terrorist and kidnappers are holding sway. This has reduced the movement of goods and services across the states. We have to manage the little we can offer within our confinement and limit our interactions across the borders of the states. It’s sad.
Ethnic rivalries and competitions have become rife in Nigeria. This is reducing the integration to promote commerce and trade and the huge cost is on us in terms of recession and failure of administrative policies.
How did we get here? We are here because we have never been proactive enough and also attack our challenges with sincerity, commitment and scientific approach. The government of Nigeria must be ready and willing to fight insecurity without any fear. One of the fundamental challenges in tackling the evil is the approach and the corruption.
Top brass security personnel with sympathy for the killer’s groups should be identified and treated as one of them. Corruption in our military institutions should be seriously dealt with and performance should be the basis for promoting and decoration of officers and men of the force.
Why are we still keeping those service chiefs without performance, under who more Nigerians are being slaughtered both on the streets and farmlands every day? The president will have to answer this.
Why do we make the business of killing look lucrative in Nigeria? Why integrating the apprehended Boko-Haram members back into society? How can they be de-radicalised and made to return to the street rather than making them to book an appointment with the gallows?
It is said that Nigerian leaders are sending criminals to join armed forces because they believe that is the solution. Is it not a shame that our Governors in North-West are negotiating and paying killers to give people access to their farms and businesses. We pay a huge amount of money from state coffer at the detriment of our own economy and growth.
Nigerian Government will need to be strict, tactical and bold to tackle the insecurity. There’s no way we can solve this myriad of insecurity with corruption. We need to get serious about our fight against corruption to kill insecurity.
Our investment in education and capacity development must be right. Despondency and frustration are two pointers of devilish manipulation of human minds. There’s a link between a high level of out of school children in the Northern Nigeria and Insecurity. We can also look at Southwest to get a balance of this argument.
Nigeria must ensure the educational policy of free and compulsory basic education is sustained and made to work at all cost. Is it not a shame to all of us what the meaning of Boko-Haram is? Boko Haram simply means “no to Western Civilization and Education”.
The next generation of Nigerians should be culturally bred to love and believe in Nigeria. The traditional institutions and family should be enhanced to train their children and wards to respect other tribes and religions. The government also should strife to be neutral in all issues that have to do with tribes, religion and beliefs. There must be censorship of the nature and type of religious education dished out to young Nigerians at all corners of Nigeria. Respect for our cultural values should be restored and projected for national unity. The government at no time should be seen as being biased toward religion and nepotistic toward a people or a tribe.
Finally, those who are caught within the web either as a sponsor or supporter of terrorism and the killer group should be treated as criminals no matter how well-positioned.